Things to do in April 2014

It’s officially the first day of spring!

Screen shot 2014-03-20 at 9.21.24 PM

Like many…I’m so exited to finally be able to get out of the house and enjoy the best that Chicago has to offer without freezing my butt off!

Here are a few events and things to look forward to this April.

1. Improv festival — April 1 – 6, 2014 (begins March 31)

Billed as the world’s longest running festival of improvisational theater, the Chicago Improv Festival includes music, song, comedy, story, and puppetry performances in multiple locations. Cost: Varies $5-$30.

If you like comedy don’t miss Curb Your Enthusiasm start Jeff Garling at Zanies (1548 N Wells)  You can purcase tickets here.  Cost: $25

2.  Macy’s Flower show — April 1 – 6, 2014 (begins March 23)

Macy’s Flower Show features 2 million flowers and exotic topiaries plus scheduled events at Macy’s on State Street.  Cost: FREE! 

3.  21st Annual Chicago’s Underground Film Festival (CUFF) — April 2-6, 2014

Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) shows independent, experimental, and documentary films from around the world at the Logan Theatre, followed by nearby after-parties. You can get a festival pass for a $60 here.

***

Or if you’d rather see films from Latin America, Brazil, Spain and Portugal check out the 30th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival — April 3-17th, 2014. Cost: starts at $10.

4.  Cubs home opener! Cubs vs. Phillies — April 4th

Chicago Cubs fans are invited to the “Party of the Century” throughout the 2014 season.  Wrigley Field will celebrate its 100th birthday with special guests, gifts, cake, entertainment and even a serenade to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” Cost: $33-$125

5. Easter at Lincoln Park Zoo — April 19, 2014

Eat treats with the Easter bunny, hunt for eggs, visit animals, ride the train & carousel (in dry weather) at the Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Lincoln Park Zoo.  Guests will also enjoy free carousel and train rides! Cost: $15-$40

**

Unleash your inner child and check out Adult Easter Egg Hunt in Logan Square  — April 20th, 2014

Filled with food, drinks, music and deals.  Hunters will receive egg gift baskets  and deals from participating restaurants including The Burlington, Busy Beaver Button Co., Parson’s Chicken and Fish, Scofflaw, The East Room, The Whisler and Slippery Slope. Proceeds benefit the neighborhood’s chapter of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.   Cost: $5

6.  Spring Wine Stroll — April 24, 2014

Wine Strolls transform Lincoln Square and Ravenswood’s retail establishments and restaurants into wine tasting destinations of approximately 40-45 different reds and whites! All participating businesses pair delicious hors d’oeuvres with their wines. Cost: $40-$60

7.  The Merchandise Mart Antiques Fair — April 23-27, 2014

Showcasing more than 100 of the world’s top dealers of antiques and fine art, the 17th annual Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair is Chicago’s ultimate treasure hunt.   From the seasoned collector to anyone with an appreciation for timeless design, shoppers will find a wonderfully diverse array of art, antiques and jewelry from antiquities to 20th Century modernism. Cost: $15

8.  April is bacon month!  Baconfest — April 25-26, 2014

On the festival floor, the hottest chefs from the finest local restaurants prepare and serve small plates starring bacon.  The best mixologists and brewers quench thirst with refreshing bacon-based and bacon-inspired cocktails and brews.  Luxury brands, artisan bacon-makers, and bacontrepreneurs display, sample, and sell a multitude of local craft bacons and bacon-related products.  There are still some tickets left, pricey… but if you truly love bacon you can’t miss this event! Cost: $100-$200

9.  The Sound of Music at the Lyric— April 25th-May 18th

Worlds most beloved family musical live on stage at the beautiful Lyric Opera house.  Don’t miss this production starring Billy Zane (from Titanic and Chicago on Broadway) and Jenn Gambatese (star of Wicked and Tarzan: The Musical Broadway).  Cost: $35-$119

Last but not least…

10.  Lurie Garden in Millennium Park– all throughout April

After one of the coldest, snowiest winters in recent memory, plenty of people are eager to get out and grow! As the first crocus blooms peek through the ground, the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park offers a variety of free public programs for all ages. Cost: FREE

**

Concerts not to miss (if you can still manage to get tickets!)

David Guetta at Aragon — April 4th

John Legend at the Cadillac Palace Theater — April 9th

Juana Molina at the Old Town School of Folk Music — April 10th

Diana Ross at the Chicago theater — April 29th-30th

3679220522-chicago

Now you have absolutely NO excuse to sit at home and say

‘I’m bored…there’s nothing to do’.  

Happy Spring Everyone!

Fifth Annual Chicago Chef Week! Have you made your reservations?

Those of you who love & appreciate culinary arts (or just simply love to eat) know that Chicago has one of the country’s hottest restaurants scenes & is truly at the forefront of culinary experimentation.

With that said…The Fifth Annual Chicago Chef Week has officially begun!chefs-week-2014

Now through Friday, March 21 experience prix-fixe dining at 80 local culinary destinations. These restaurants will offer a three or four-course dinner menu for $30-$44/person and three-course lunch menu for $22/person (please note that not all restaurants offer a lunch menu). Reservations can be made via Open Table to avoid the wait lines!

To see all of the participating restaurants, check out their menus, as well as book a table….visit the official website here.

Just a few of my favorite restaurants to recommend are: Roka Akkor, Jellyfish, GT Fish & Oyster, Le Colonial, Slurping Turtle, Hot Chocolate, & Mercadito.

Start making your reservations & Bon Appétit!

CCW_header_1

Don’t Miss Chicago Theater Week!

I know this is a little last minute..but I had to share!

It’s cold and we are all sick of being stuck indoors (thanks to living in chiberia) but it the second annual Chicago Theater Week!

Bundle up and check out one of the 100 productions featuring the city’s best talent.  It started yesterday and goes till February 16th.  After Chicago Restaurant Week this is the next best thing!

This is really the perfect time to explore a broad array of Chicago theater and have the opportunity to check out a wide-range of theater companies from powerhouses such as Goodman and Steppenwolf to small storefront theater for only $15-$30!

Click here to look at the list of productions and get your tickets!

-PS if you don’t have Valentines Day plans yet…this makes for a perfect gift!

Ryan-Borque-and-Harry-Groener-in-Chicago-Shakespeares-production-of-CYRANO.

theatre2

See originally here.

Happy 100th Birthday Wrigley Field

Living within walking distance to Wrigley Field, I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Cubs over the years.  I have to admit…they do grow on you, their die-hard team spirit is contagious –despite the Curse of the Billy Goat and their seemingly endless losing streak.

The Cubs have not won a National League pennant and have not won a World series since 1908.  So they may not be the greatest winning team but they do have a passionate fan base, an impressive roster of Hall of Fame players, and a beautiful, timeless ball park that reeks of unique traditions and which is actually part of the personality of the team and the city celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year!

“Chicago Cubs fans are the greatest fans in baseball. They’ve got to be.” – Cubs Manager Herman Franks (1978)

A Very Short History of the Chicago Cubs:

Ironically known initially as the ‘white stockings‘ they were originally formed as an amateur team less than a decade after the Civil War (1870) and then joined the National League (1876) for its initial season.  They are the only franchise to play continuously in the same city since the formation of the National League.

At the turn of the 20th century they changed their names to Cubs.  The 1906 Cubs had it all. The team won 116 games, a record that still stands, and finished twenty games ahead of the competition.  The only thing the Cubs did wrong in 1906 was lose the World Series.  They did win the World Series in 1907 and 1908, both times against Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers.  These back to back championships are the only two the franchise has ever won.

Throughout the years they have won 10 National League Pennants and have 30 former players in the Hall of Fame!


 Chicago reached the World Series four times between 1906 and 1910, winning twice.

A Very Short history of Wrigley Field:

Wrigley Field was built in 1914 costing $250,000 and originally named as Weeghman Park.  It was called Cubs Park between 1920 and 1924 when it was finally named Wrigley Field in 1925 by new owner and chewing gum tycoon, William Wrigley, Jr. in order to generate more exposure for his brand of chewing gum.  William Wrigley and his family had owned it for 65 years and in 1981 they sold Wrigley Field to The Tribune Company for 20.5 million dollars!  Since 2009 it’s been under the ownership of Joe Ricketts–the founder, former CEO and former chairman of TD Ameritrad.

The current capacity (2013) is 41,019 making Wrigley Field the 10th-smallest actively used ballpark.  It is the oldest National League ballpark, the second oldest active major league ballpark and the only remaining Federal League park.  Wrigley is known for its ivy covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance, the hand turned scoreboard, and for being the last major league park to have lights installed in 1988 for play after dark.

Did you know that the Chicago Bears played at Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970 before relocating to Soldier Field (see photo below)?  They even named themselves the Bears in order to identify with the baseball team, a common practice in the NFL in those days.

You are all invited to the Party of the Century throughout the 2014 season to celebrate Wrigley Fields 100th birthday!  There will be decades-themed homestands, throwback uniforms, unique promotional items, commemorative merchandise, surprise guests and entertainment for all you die-hard cubs fans.

I will leave you with some tips for those who are newly Cubs fans or future fans so you can get the most of this seasons 100th year celebration!

How to be a ‘Proper’ Cubs Fan for Beginners:

  1. Do not be a Chicago White Sox fan. —  Either you are a Cubs fan or a Sox fan; there is no binding of the two. Period.
  2. Show your Pride! — Your new favorite color is now blue and red. Purchase yourself a starter kit which includes a jersey, t-shirt, hat, banner, flag or home made sign about how much you love the Cubbies!
  3. Start drinking beer or get use to hanging around people who drink beer…lots of beer!
  4. Know where to tailgate. — Since Wrigley Field does not allow tailgating in parking lots, you can instead tailgate at one of the 80+ bars and restaurants in Wrigleyville.  Some fan favorites are Sluggers, Cubbie Bear, Murphys, John Barleycorn and Harry’s Tavern.
  5. Go to as many games as you can possibly (afford to) go to. — Don’t forget the ‘bleacher’ experience as well as the ‘roof top’ experience to get a unique view of the park from the outside.  Oh and of course boo every time the opposing team hits a home run.

                                                     

Do not forget to get your commemorative historic never-before-produced booble-head (given out to first 10,000 fans during the first Friday home game of each decade-themed homestand) and enjoy the the 100th year celebration of the 2014 Chicago Cubs Baseball Season!  

Go Cubbies!

Sources:
chicago.cubs.mlb.com
baseball-almanac.com
en.wikipedia.org

25 Reasons To Be Thrilled You Live In Chicago

As much as I love traveling and exploring new places, I always have a giddy happy feeling coming back home.  It was hard to make such a short list but here are a few reason why Chicago…also known as Chi-town… is better than living anywhere else :)

“… And each time I roam, Chicago is calling me home, Chicago is why I just grin like a clown – It’s my kind of town…” Sinatra

Best_of_chicago

25.  We love to cover popcorn with delicious carmel and cheese, lines wrap around the corner at Garrett Popcorn Shops for a good reason.

24.  Pretty much every hilarious person in America started off at Second City. Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey is just to name a few.

23.  We are a city that appreciates art…whether that’s giant sculptures seen around town, cows climbing buildings, or free museum days!

22.  Chicago Lollapalooza has the greatest view of any paloozas anywhere. Period.

21.  We live next to Oprah, Joan Cusack, Vince Vaughn or Andrew bird but don’t make a big deal of it since we are too busy with our own lives to notice.

20.  For all you dedicated bikers…or newly born bike lovers inspired by Divvy, there’s a whole week dedicated to you filled with bike related activities and events throughout Chicago and the burbs.

19.  We have over 29 miles of beach in the city!

18.  If you do have to leave Chicago for whatever reason…O’hare or Midway is easily accessible with the EL.

17.  Being one of the most culturally rich cities you can pretend to be German at Octoberfest, an art+design major at SOFA Chicago, or foodie at Taste of Chicago.  We dye our rivers green because we feel that Irish for a weekend.

16. From giant research universities, urban campuses, and top rated culinary schools in America…there’s something for everyone!

15. Chicago’s night scene exists 7 days a week from roof top lounges to underground clubs to sports bars. Whether it’s late night blues sets at Kingston Mines or looking your best at Paris Club there’s just way too many options to wait in line.

14.  All of our favorite sports teams play within the city and we are always just a quick ride from Wrigley Field, United Center, Soldier Field, U.S. Cellular Field…whether that’s a good or bad thing.

13.  With over 500 parks there’s always a park near by…Lincoln Park gets over 20 million visitors a year!

12.  Chicago is easy to navigate thanks to the simple grid system and thanks to Daniel Burnham

11.  Our wonderful city made the cut…Chicago was voted into the top 10 cities to visit in 2014 by Lonely Planet.

10. We may have a fan page for how much we hate the new Ventra cards…but can’t complain too much since we use it to get around the city for only about $2!

9.  Our streets are (almost) always clean, thank goodness for alleys!

8.  We have some of the best restaurants in the universe with countless award winning chefs and I’m not just talking about 5 star restaurants like ‘Girl & the Goat’…Hot Dougs draws just as much attention and stomachs!

7.  You may be single or alone..but you never feel lonely caught up in all of Chicago’s fabulous affairs. It’s never too early to start looking forward to this summers festivals.

6.  Grabbing a fresh copy of the Redeye in the morning is a delight.

5.  There’s absolutely no excuse to drink and drive, the 3 foot long pink mustaches serves as a reminder to us all. Thanks Lyft!

4.  There is always someone crazier than you on the CTA…always!

3.  Willis Tower? Really? Chicagoans forever and ever will call Sears Towers…Sears Tower!

2.  We love Chicago…but the best part is that Chicago loves you back!

1.  We have mastered how to deal with the harshest winters but still manage to be the most beautiful city when everyone else in the midwest is frozen and miserable.

Perhaps the best thing about Chicagoans is their modesty.  Northwestern University President Schapiro, himself an east coast native and former President of Williams College, described it: “I love the civility, I love the humility, I love the respect, I love the friendliness, I love the lack of entitlement.”